Starting up is sweat, tears and blood – Mark Afolabi (Co-Founder Whitespaces)
On this episode of CHaTFridays we caught up the Co-Founder of Whitespaces Integrated services Mark Afolabi; he spoke to us on how technology and the social media have evolved over the years to help young entrepreneurs sell their products; we also discussed some of the ongoing projects in the Lab:
Awetech: May we meet you Sir?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): My Name is Mark Afolabi, Co-Founder of Whitespaces Integrated services.
I studied food science and technology from the federal University of Technology Akure…. I’ve been interested in computers and technology as a whole so, while in school I was actively involved with the Google technology user group, this marked the beginning of my techpreneurship Journey.
Awetech: This is Great sir; But you studied food science and technology; what was the connection? Do you still have Passion for it?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Basically, I’m working with a couple of guys on mass production of popcorn business; it’s been in beta since last year, and will launch fully first quarter of this year… Yes, I still do something related to food.
Awetech: What is Whitespaces?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Whitespaces is basically a startup Lab that designs technological products and services to solve everyday problems.
Awetech: Great sir; can we talk about some of the products of this Lab?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): We have drophive.com; drophive is a money saving application. We help users cultivate a saving habit.
Users easily set a saving goal, save towards the goal and withdraw when the goal has been met
We also have Telecourier.com.ng a co working solution that allows startups and small businesses co-exist in a location. With access to internet, electricity, meeting rooms, business training ET AL.
Eventals is a marketplace for vendors and venue owners to reach out to potential customers
Awetech: How do you get on with marketing these products? What has support in terms of funding been like?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): A lot of social media marketing, word of mouth and we also deploy independent sales executives.
Support in terms of funding has been terrific…… we’re self-financed and growing in bits.
Awetech: We’ll like to know more on how technology and the social media have evolved over the years to help young entrepreneurs sell their products?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Basically, before now…. The medium of reach was mostly offline and telemarketing which limited the number of customers you could get for your business. Plus, this was expensive.
Fast forward to today, you can jump on Facebook; create an AD with $30 and you’ll reach over 10,000 people.
Life has become easier. You can now conduct your business from the comfort of your room via the internet while reducing your overhead costs.
Awetech: So, does the best form of marketing (for you) remains the social media?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): It’s the most pocket friendly and helps validate your business idea ASAP…
In fact, Digital Marketing as a whole
Awetech: How has tech-entrepreneurship changed your life?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): The hustle is deep…. And the learning curve in technology is an adventure on its own. I’ve met like minds from all continents.
Experienced first-hand business related culture as practiced in different organizations.
Awetech: Five years from now; can you predict the Nigerian tech Eco system; do you think we would have grown; maybe ripe enough for maturity?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Big things are happening in our ecosystem. Even in the face of recession we keep growing. I can say we will see more startups come up, more access to investments, mergers and success all round.
Do you think entrepreneurship in general can save Nigeria from this economic mess?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Entrepreneurship in its self cannot thrive without the enabling environment.
Policies, support and the ease to start a business must first be in place.
This is when we can think of saving the country.
Awetech: Tell us more about DevsDistrict
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): I’m not in any way related to DevsDistrict…. But they are a social innovation hub creating sustainable business models dedicated to solving challenges encountered in Nigeria.
Awetech: What would you tell tech entrepreneurs based in locations such as Ado-Ekiti and Environs where people aren’t much of a tech savvy?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Create Solutions that are not location restricted. That’s the beauty of the internet
Awetech: Have you got any other words for upcoming entrepreneurs in general? What will you tell them to avoid doing?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Starting up is sweat, tears and blood… keep the hustle straight, grind some more…. Maybe, just maybe you’ll become a unicorn
Avoid surrounding yourself with negativity…….
Awetech: On a final note, what inspires you to keep driving? what motivates you?
Plus, we’ll like to know where do you think the idea to start an ideal tech entrepreneurial journey should start from?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): The future motivates me …. what we are right now and the potential of what we can become
The idea mostly comes from solving one’s personal problems or solving problems in our immediate environment.
Awetech: Thanks very much for your time sir, any final words?
Mark Afolabi (Whitespaces): Thank you for the privilege to be on this episode…… I’ll like to encourage every startup struggling right now to never give up.